African-American Alumni Perceptions Regarding Giving to Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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Title: African-American Alumni Perceptions Regarding Giving to Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Author: Reaves, Nicole
Advisors: John Levin, Committee Chair
Marvin Titus, Committee Member
Paul Bitting, Committee Member
Audrey Jaeger, Committee Member
Abstract: The continued existence of several private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) has been threatened due to limited financial resources. Several of these institutions are on probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) or in jeopardy of losing their accreditation due to financial position. Similarly, HBCUs have been dependent primarily on the government, the church, and benevolent philanthropists for funding. As government support of the private HBCU decreases, and as the economy worsens, competition for funding sources increases. As a result, these institutions focus their attention towards resource development and philanthropic support. The number one source of financial support for most colleges is the alumni (Yates, 2001). Unlike predominantly White colleges, HBCUs have not had a long history of generous alumni giving (Ramsey, 1992). Hence, if HBCUs can facilitate giving from their alumni, the financial condition of these institutions may improve. This study examined African-American alumni perceptions regarding giving for two private HBCUs located in the Southeastern United States. The purpose of this study was to determine the factors influencing African-American alumni perceptions regarding giving and how these factors facilitate or impede participation in giving to the HBCU. For this case study, data were collected through interviewing African-American alumni, attending alumni association meetings, and examining web-pages and other documents at the respective colleges. The findings under the lens of cultural, critical race and institutional theories (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995; Outlaw, 1996) revealed factors influenced by Western social construction of culture, race, class, and power which have, consequently, impacted African-American alumni participation in giving to HBCUs. The conclusions and implications of this study are significant enough to warrant further investigation into the ramifications of African-American alumni giving to HBCUs in order to determine whether the anticipated benefits of alumni giving can, in fact, ameliorate the financial position of the HBCU.
Date: 2006-05-23
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education

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